This month we explore some of the deeper meaning surrounding the symbolism of Aquarius…
Aquarius is symbolized by the ‘water carrier’ which gives us an indication of the deeper meaning of this enigmatic sign. Indeed the name ‘aqua-rius’ is Latin for water (aqua) carrier, so we can particularly take note that it is more about the water carrier, and not the water itself. So there is something important about Aquarius being a container, vessel, or vehicle. In Esoteric Astrology it is said that through Aquarius’ pitcher flow the ‘dual waters of love and life‘, which again is hinting something about Aquarius’ role in flowing energy.
People born under this sign often make awesome networkers. There is something innate in Aquarius’ understanding of circulating energy. Indeed in Medical Astrology, while Leo rules the heart, it is Leo’s opposite sign Aquarius that rules the circulation itself. It seems that on many levels, Aquarius plays an important role in the creation and maintenance of channels through which the dual energies of ‘love’ and ‘life’ can flow throughout humanity.
Aquarius (together with Gemini and Virgo) is one of the few signs that is symbolized by a human form – which gives us another hint at one of the higher purposes of Aquarius. Aquarius is the sign of the humanitarian, and in Esoteric Astrology Aquarius is associated with the higher group consciousness of humanity. So now we are beginning to see a picture emerge of a sign that is highly symbolic of the evolution of human consciousness through our ability to circulate the dual waters of love and life throughout humanity.
There is much in the mythology of Aquarius that refers to this association with flowing water. In Greek mythology Aquarius is associated with the myth of Ganymede, a young boy who was captured and enslaved to become the ‘water-bearer’ to Zeus, yet the association of Aquarius with flowing water appears to be even older than that.
In his article, The Aquarius Symbol, Stefann Stenudd points out that the ancient Babylonians associated Aquarius with their God Ea which meant “The Great One”. We’ll come back to the meaning of ‘great one’ in a moment but in terms of the name Ea, this Wikipedia article suggests that it could possibly be, “a derivation from the West-Semitic root *hyy meaning “life” in this case used for “spring”, “running water.””
This is interesting because it once again brings us to an image of flowing, or running water (or the running water of life). The glyph for Aquarius, two wave-like lines, could therefore be symbolic of the ‘dual’ waters of love and life.
In Alice Baileys book “The Labours of Hercules: An Astrological Interpretation” the labour that is associated with Aquarius is the labour of cleansing the Augean stables. In this myth Hercules is challenged to clean the royal stables of a King, which had never been cleaned before and so were caked in the stench and filth of years of accumulated dung! His challenge was to clear them in one day – a task that was thought to be impossible. There were two rivers flowing nearby, and Hercules accomplished the task by simply re-directing the rivers – which flushed out the stable.
So in the symbology of Aquarius the continuous theme of flowing water emerges, and always with a human involved – possibly acting as an agent of change or awareness. So not only do we have a theme of flowing energy, but there is always some human involvement, a conscious awareness, with the ability to choose and direct the flow of energy.
The Great One
Earlier we noted that the Babylonian God Ea was associated with Aquarius and that his name meant “The Great One”. In terms of spiritual truth, the ‘Great One’ (also known as “Great Spirit” in some native American traditions) is not a separate individual but is actually Oneness itself: the great Universal Mind of Divinity within which we all exist, and from which all manifest phenomena emerge. This leads us to the highest spiritual purpose of Aquarius.
As the fixed air sign, Aquarius is a sign of the mind (all air signs are about Mastery of Mind). One of the highest spiritual purposes of Aquarius is to go beyond the workings of lower mind and ego, to realize the presence and reality of the Universal Mind of Oneness.
Once there the ebb and flow of Life itself will be known, as it is seen how the waters of Love and Life continuously emerge from, and dissolve into, the ocean of One. The symbolism of Aquarius therefore carries deep and significant meaning about Divine oceanic consciousness (the water) being expressed in the form of Love and Life, through the ‘vessel’ known as the body of humanity (the carrier).